NJ Jackals Acquire RHP John Hayes; Sign C-1B Richard Stock to Contract Extension
Little Falls, NJ - The 2019 Can-Am League Champion New Jersey Jackals announce the acquisition of right-handed pitcher John Hayes and future considerations from the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs (Atlantic League, Independent) in exchange for outfielder David Harris. In a corresponding move, the Jackals signed catcher and first baseman Richard Stock to a contract extension.
"We appreciate everything David meant to us both on and off the field. You really don't want to lose a guy like him, but this was the right thing to do for both parties," New Jersey Jackals manager Brooks Carey said. "He wanted a new challenge and probably needed one. Southern Maryland had a pitcher we really like [in Hayes] who can go right into our rotation."
A product of the Detroit Tigers organization, Hayes was drafted out of Wichita State University in the 25th round of the 2016 MLB First-Year Player Draft where he pitched three seasons in the Shockers' bullpen. Spending three seasons in the Tigers system and reaching as high as the Single-A West Michigan Whitecaps (Midwest League) in 2018, the Denison, Texas native went 4-4 with two saves in 43 appearances with 59 innings pitched while tallying 28 walks and 45 strikeouts. After being released by the Tigers on May 14, 2018, he split the remainder of 2018 with the Cleburne Railroaders and the Wichita Wingnuts in the American Association (Independent). Last year, Hayes was signed by the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs on April 2, 2019. Serving as a swingman for the Blue Crabs pitching staff, he went 3-6 overall with a 5.00 ERA over 34 appearances - including 10 starts - and amassed 61 walks and 57 strikeouts in 93.2 innings pitched.
Harris is a seven-year veteran who had a solid 2019 campaign despite wrestling with nagging injuries. After starting the year with Quintana Roo (Triple-A Mexican League), the 28-year old outfielder returned to Jackals on July 24 and gave the lineup an extra jolt. Over 33 games, Harris slashed .342/.421/.441 with two homers, 22 RBIs, 14 runs scored, three stolen bases and received Can-Am League Batter of the Week honors for the week of August 5-11. While the Bradenton, Florida native had an excellent postseason (.333 AVG, 1 homer, 5 RBIs) overall, he saved his best for last. Harris tormented the defending 2018 Can-Am League Champion Sussex County Miners in the 2019 Can-Am League Championship Series by hitting .416 (5-12) and belting a mammoth two-run homer off of Andrew Gist in Game 3 that propelled the Jackals to a 2-0 victory. Along with playing two seasons with the Jackals (2018-2019) and one with the Schaumburg Boomers (2017, Frontier League), he spent four seasons in the Toronto Blue Jays organization which drafted him out of Southern Arkansas University in the 36th round of the 2013 MLB First-Year Player Draft.
"Once we acquired Hayes, a veteran roster spot opened. We needed a left-handed hitting first baseman and obviously, Richard is our guy," Carey said. "He was actually on pace for 100 RBIs [last season] before some nagging injuries slowed his pace. Richard lives for hitting with men on base and enjoys those situations."
Stock is entering his fourth season with the Jackals. Last year, Stock authored the best season of his professional career by hitting .281 (82-292) with 21 doubles, nine home runs and 64 RBIs (tied-4th in the league). Lurking in the shadows of Can-Am League Player of The Year Alfredo Marte and All-Star infielder Conrad Gregor, the Kirkland, Washington native feasted on run-producing opportunities. A quintessential clutch hitter, Stock thrived in the following crucial situations:
With the bases loaded: .800 AVG and 9 RBIs
Runners in scoring position: .351 AVG, 2 HR and 51 RBIs
Runners in scoring position and two outs: .417 AVG, 2 HR and 26 RBIs
Runners on base: .315, 3 HR and 55 RBIs
Plus, not only did the Jackals have a record of 23-14 when Stock drove in one or more runs, but he also led the team with three-five RBI games that came against the Trois Rivieres Aigles on May 25, and twice against the Shikoku Island League on June 21 and 23, respectively. He also hit .289 (11-38) during 2019 Can-Am League Playoffs with two doubles, one triple, one home run and four RBIs.
Drafted by the Cleveland Indians out of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in the 2012 MLB First-Year Player Draft, Stock spent three seasons in the Tribe's farm system. During this run -- including two years with the Single-A Lake County Captains (Midwest League) -- he batted .275 (125-455) with 12 home runs, 27 doubles, three triples and 61 RBIs. Following his release from the Indians organization on March 24, 2015, he played for the Sioux Falls Canaries in American Association (Independent) where he batted .265 (70-64) with seven home runs and 43 RBIs. He then spent the 2016 and 2017 seasons with the Jackals. His brother Robert is a right-handed pitcher on the Philadelphia Phillies. In 2016 he pitched for the Jackals and went 1-2 with a 2.85 ERA over 52 appearances and 60 innings pitched while posting 40 walks and 73 strikeouts.
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